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of the Helmand, almost all of them become exhausted long before they have run their

A large quantity of their water is also absorbed by the porous soil over which the streams flow. Even the Lake of Sistan, which receives the waters of six rivers, presents during the summer months almost a dry surface over a considerable portion of its extent.* But after the heavy rains on the hills which the streams feeding it drain, Dr. Bellew remarks that they become flushed for a time, and sometimes overflow their banks as does the Sistan Lake. But owing to the rapid absorption by the soil, and the evaporation caused by the arid atmosphere of this region, the inconvenience produced by these inundations is but temporary, and of no great importance. This is true of Western Afghanistan. But in Cabul the rivers are more numerous and of greater value than in the drier parts of the country. In the winter the streets of the city of Cabul are usually blockaded with snow for three months in the year, and then all business comes to an end. At Jelalabad, lower down in the same valley, there is less snow, but in the summer the heat is terrible, and greatly detracts from the healthiness of the climate, due to the prevalence of the dry, bracing winds in the u plands. Afghanistan has always been more or less of a closed country-an oyster which at intervals has been opened with the sword. Nomad merchants, like the Lohani traders, have from time immemorial wandered through it, but the jealousy of the authorities has for many years prevented almost any one save soldiers at the heads of armies or diplomatists under special permits—and these, as we all know, not invariably-from entering the country. Yet curiosity or other causes have led men to risk their lives in the attempt to penetrate the sterile valleys of Cabul. Arminius Vambéry got as far as Herat, not, however, without being suspected, and then wisely turned back. Political spies—both Russian and English—have more than once been in it, unknown to the authorities. But the strangest of all wanderers who ever reached Cabul in modern times was Wilhelm Friedrich Yapûrt, a German, who appeared in Candabar in 1857, when Major Lumsden's mission was there. He was a native of Berlin, but had roamed for twenty years through half of Asia and Turkey as quack doctor, herbalist, and shoemaker, until he had reached Herat. Here he was cruelly treated, and several times led out to have his throat cut an infidel, and only escaped on producing positive proof that, outwardly at least, he had conformed to Mohammedanism.

He travelled from Herat to Candabar on foot, taking six months to accomplish the journey, and suffering hardships almost too terrible to think of. He was then on his way to Bombay, but finally changed his mind and determined to remain in Candahar. This, however, he was not destined to do; for when news of him reached Dost Mabomed, who was then Ameer, he was ordered to go to Cabul for inspection. What became of him the Englishmen could never learn, but when the Sipahis of their guard heard of his destination they merely stroked their beards and gravely remarked, “May Allah have mercy upon him!” He was suspected of being an English spy, for the Afghans know nothing of the Germans. To them Feringhistan is simply the land of the Feringhees—"a white-faced, pig-eating race of infidels,

* Rawlinson : Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, Vol. XLIII. (1873), p. 272; Markham : Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society (1880), p. 198.


very fond of eating and fighting and stealing each other's lands.” But long before poor Wilhelm Yapûrt wandered to his death a Briton had found his way to Cabul. When the first English army wintered in that city, they were often puzzled by an inscription on a tombstone in the Mohammedan cemetery, which recorded that—" Here lyeth the body of John Hicks, son of Thomas and Edith Hicks, who departed this life the eleventh of October, 1666.” Who was John Hicks? who carved his tombstone? and what did he in Cabul in the days when Aurungzebe was Great Mogul, and the second Charles King of England ?

The invasions of 1838, 1812, 1878, and 1879 have, however, greatly extended our knowledge of the country, albeit this is still imperfect, while the once scanty literature of Afghanistan has, owing to these campaigns, assumed formidable proportions. The newspaper accounts of the country would alone fill many volumes, and this has been so generally read that a briefer account of the region will now suffice than would, have been otherwise necessary.* The country is believed, in spite of the Afghan assertion to the contrary, to be rich in mines. Ores of lead and iron, as well as silver and metallic antimony, are known to abound in the Hindoo Koosh and its subordinate ranges, and it is a commercial fact that sulphur and orpiment are brought from the Hazarah mountains, and salt from Kalabagh and Sistan, at opposite extremities of the country. In the latter district sal-ammonia and alum are found, and salt petre is plentiful in various districts. The coal of Candahar is likely before long to become of importance, and the existence of gold in the neighbourhood of the capital of that country has been known for a number of years. The silver mines of the Panjshir Valley in the Hindoo Koosh were at one time famous, and the excellent iron produced from magnetic iron-sand in the independent territory of Bajaur, north-west from Peshawur, is still exported. From Permûli considerable quantities are brought into Cabul, and iron ore is abundant in many parts of the country, but copper, though known to exist, is nowhere worked. The silicate of zinc, which comes in nodular masses from the Kakar country, is chiefly used by the cutlers for polishing, while the native manufacturers of gunpowder are supplied with sulphur and saltpetre from deposits found in various districts.

The vegetable productions of Afghanistan are similar to those of India and Europe, with a few, such as pistacia and edible pine nuts, madder and assafotida, more peculiar to itself. The tobacco of Candahar is highly esteemed both in and out of the country. Cotton is grown in small quantities, but in addition to the usual crops suitable to the climate of different parts of the country, large quantities of apples, pears, almonds, apricots, quinces, plums, cherries, pomegranates, limes, citrons, grapes, figs, and mulberries are reared to a degree of perfection to which they have attained nowhere else in the East. In their fresh and dried state the Afghan fruits are carried all over Hindostan, and in value exceed the trade in

* In the Proccedings of the Royal Goographical Society for 1879 and 1880 will be found notes on the chief works and reports published of late years. The standard treatises of Elphinstone, Ferrier, Bellew, James, Raverty, Kaye, Macgregor, Lumsden, and Thornton, are always valuable; and in the Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society, Vol. I. (1879), pp. 38, 110, 161, 191, 244, and 617, and Vol. II. (1880), pp. 212 and 424, will be found abstracts of most of the geographical work accomplished by the survey officers attached to the armies of occupation or invasion.



horses and sheep's wool, which form the other considerable portions of the foreign commerce of Afghanistan. In return for their fruits, wool, and horses, the Lohani merchants (p. 239) take back indigo, muslins, chintz, broad-cloths, sugar, spices, medicine, salt, silk and cotton fabrics, musk, and other British and Indian manufactures and products. But of manufactures proper the Afghans have few or They are nation of warriors and shepherds, not of art-workmen, miners, or handicraftsmen. They make coarse cloth for their own use, turbans, felts, "postins,” or sheepskin coats, and camels-hair cloaks, or “chogas,” the three latter articles being extensively exported to the Peshawur frontier, and the adjoining portion of the Punjab, where they are valued—especially the postins-by the British Indian army, as a part of their winter clothing. The domestic animals of the country are the horse, the sheep, and the camel. The great droves of the first-named animal which are so largely exported to ladia come for the most part from the West of Afghanistan, but of late years greater care has been bestowed on the breeding of the horse in Afghanistan itself, with the result that a superior class of beast is now reaching the market. The camel and the "yabu,” as the short, stout-limbed, hardy indigenous horse is called, are the only beasts of burden used throughout the country, or employed in the transport trade with the Punjab and Sindh, on the east and south, Persia on the west, and Turkestan on the north. Horses, camels, and sheep also constitute the wealth of the nomad tribes, though they have cows, buffaloes, goats, poultry, long-haired Persian cats, and several varieties of dogs, when settled for a time on their farms. The shcep are all of the fat-tailed variety, and are remarkable for the profusion of wool which their fleeces bear, and out of which the “postins” are made. The ass is not common in the country, but is a finer animal than that of Hindostan; but in the Western district is found a wild ass, and also a wild goat and wild sheer Mutton constitutes the chief animal food of the people, but the flesh eaten is that of the white-fleeced variety, the wool of which is also exported both to Persia and by way of Bombay to Europe. In the autumn large numbers of sheep, oxen, and even camels, are slaughtered, their flesh rubbed with salt, and sun-dried for winter provisions. Herat is so much more Persian than Afghan in its characteristics that it cannot be taken as a fair specimen of the country. Hence the fine carpets woven in that town and district may be considered a Persian manufacture naturalised here, while the fine rosaries of chrysolite, which are made at Candahar and largely exported to Mecca and other strongholds of Mohammedanism, is an art product peculiar to this city. The rivers of Afghanistan do not abound in fish, nor is

very varied sport to be had by the capture of the species which they do contain. The "mabaser,” and another trout-like fish, are those most commonly obtained and held in most esteem by the enthusiastic angler. Reptiles, including some very venomous snakes, are abundant, and birds are numrrous. The Afghans are fond of field sports, and accordingly several of the native falcons have been trained to strike at water-fowl, bustards, partridge, quail, and all other sorts of game. They have even been taught to tackle the ravine deer, by perching on its horns and buffeting its head with their wings, thus delaying its speed, so as to permit of the greyhounds coming up with it. Falconry is, indeed, the Afghan's favourite amusement, and the sport has been brought to the greatest perfection; but deer-stalking in the open plains, the driving of game to well-known points by a host of beaters, and wild-fowl shooting with decoys, are among the other Afghan fieldsports noticed by Colonel Yule. As horsemen, the Afghans hold the palm among the Asiatic races, and are unerring marksmen with the native rifle, or “jezail,” and though sullen and incredibly treacherous to strangers, among themselves they are reported to be—when not shooting each other-convivial and humorous. Afghan gatherings are frequent, and tilting, racing, and music vary on such occasions the somewhat monotonous murder which characterises the intercourse of so many of the tribes.*

The population of Afghanistan—including Afghan Turkestan and the country of the Chitralis and Kaffirs—may be roughly estimated at 4,109,000, but in reality we know very little about the number of people inhabiting some of the more out-of-the way parts; and of the places deserving the name of towns only Cabul, Ghuzni, Candabar, Herat, and Bamiam need be mentioned.

Cabul-situated 6,400 feet above the sea-level, that is, 5,235 feet higher than Peshawur -is not an imposing city, though pleasantly surrounded by orchards and gardens. Its entrances are commanded by almost perpendicular and fortified eminences, and on the south-west side, at the base of Baber Badshah, a small hill, is the tomb of the Emperor Baber (p. 277), the founder of the Mogul dynasty in India, but who does not, in his delightful memoirs, speak in very complimentary terms of the place where his ashes were to repose. The Bala Hissar, or Upper Castle, commands the town on the east and south-east side; while a girdle of bastioned wall shuts in the fort, the palaces of the Ameer and his officials, a barrack, and a bazaar. The great glory of Cabul used to be its immense stone-vaulted bazaar. This is, however, a thing of the past, for in 1812 the “Army of Vengeance” destroyed it, on account of the body of our first murdered envoy having been exposed in it. Its successor is nevertheless still crowded with traders, and may be described as an Afghan Shikarpore, only in the Cabul market Central Asia rather more predominates than in the Sindhian one. Ghuzni, eighty-five miles south-west of it, standing on a rock 280 feet above the surrounding plain, and over 7,700 feet above the sea, is a notable fortress, protected by walls and towers, though it has more than once been stormed by the British troops.

Before the twelfth century it was the capital of the Ghuznevide kings, a Turkish dynasty who at the height of their power ruled the enormous expanse of country stretching between the Tigris and the Ganges, and between the Jaxartes, or Syr Daryia on the north, to the Indian Ocean. Canhahar—in the upper basin of the Helmand, the capital of the recently constituted Wali of Candahar-is a populous town, 3,490 feet above the sea, and the great meeting place of the traders between Persia and India. Soon to be connected with the Indus valley by a railway,t it promises to become a place of great prosperity, and to all intents and purposes Anglo-Indian. Herat is

more importance, for it is considered by many strategists to be the “ Key of India,” a distinction which it owes to its position, at the point whence radiate the great lines of communication to Sistan, Candahar, Cabul,

of even

* An account of the Afghans and their habits is given in “Races of Mankind,” Vol. III., pp. 254 -275.

+ For a description of this railway, sce Sir R. Temple, in Proccedings of the Royal Geographical Society, Vol. II. (1880), as well as the exhaustive paper of General Sir M. A. Biddulph in the same volume, pp. 212-246. .

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